Tales of entomology, from the Illinois Natural History Survey Reports (September 1988): “With this knowledge, distribution of ant species across Illinois counties is understood more clearly. The next step is a review of the extensive soil, leaf litter, and rotten wood samples housed at the Survey.” OK as long as they aren’t part of the structure.

And what’s more, the Commies are putting fluoride in our drinking water. According to a news release from Governors State University in south suburban University Park, GSU professor Michael Dimitroff “believes the negative influences of rock and roll music are one of the leading causes behind teenage mental health problems and the 300 percent increase in teen suicide in the last 20 years. . . . ‘The Beatles of the 1960s and 1970s set bad examples with their drug busts, low morals and exotic guru influences.'”

“Developers in Uptown will not have the advantages that those in other communities had,” according to the Chicago Reporter (November 1988). “The Lincoln Park community was gentrified when federal funds for city improvements were more abundant. Those funds, which helped upgrade Lincoln Park’s infrastructure–a requirement for long-lasting change–no longer are available. Nor does Uptown have a solidifying institution, such as the University of Chicago, which anchored the reinvestment in Hyde Park. A further obstacle is the lack of single-family housing; Uptown’s housing stock is 90 percent multi-family (more than five units per building) compared to 71 percent in Lake View and 62 percent in Lincoln Park.” Both building permits and investment dollars per capita are up, but not as high as they were in the neighborhood in the early 1980s.

“The media hysteria about the contamination of bodily fluids”–urine by drugs, blood by AIDS–“has produced several unsavory media spectacles,” writes Susan J. Douglas in In These Times (November 9-15). “Ben Johnson’s urine has received far more media scrutiny than, say, Dan Quayle’s brain or George Bush’s connections with drug runners in Central America. . . . The contaminated blood and urine of black men and gays has been held up as the major threat to the body politic. These men, singled out as the new plague bearers, are meant to embody–and to pay dearly for–all our more subterranean fears about the pollution of our political and ecological environment, a poisoning made much worse under the suicidal, live-for-today policies of Reaganism.”

We’re submitting a photograph of Bob Greene. The New Art Examiner (November 1988) quotes a recent announcement of “the first migraine-art competition to be held in the U.S.–‘Migraine Masterpieces.’ The National Headache Foundation, in conjunction with Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, is holding this nationwide competition. . . . asking sufferers to graphically depict the debilitating nature of their migraines.”

Press releases we couldn’t finish: “Cleaning up your inner toxic waste dump can be quite a heady finish with Mind Traps. Psychiatrist Tom Rusk stands naked before us, as his own best case study in self-doubt scenarios.”

“Addicts on the street are very concerned about AIDS and are willing to change their behavior when the risk-reducing alternatives are acceptable to them,” says Wayne Wiebel of the University of Illinois at Chicago AIDS Outreach Intervention Project. Wiebel believes the outreach project has time to “significantly moderate” the disease’s spread in this group. Meanwhile, for the unenlightened, the south side appears to be the least dangerous area for needle sharing. Preliminary survey results, based on 956 completed blood tests, show that the west side has the highest rate of positive AIDS-antibody tests (29.5 percent), the north side next (19.1), and the south side lowest (15.6).

Next year we’ll pay you to invest here. From the Illinois advertisements in Area Development (October 1988): “Invest $2 million now in the Calumet Region Enterprise Zone and save $1,655,686 in taxes over the next ten years.

It pays to shop for a lawyer, reports the National Resource Center for Consumers of Legal Services. According to a survey of 110 law firms nationwide, midwesterners, less experienced lawyers, and those located in smaller cities tend to charge less than other lawyers–but most price variations are random. The average list price for a lawyer, NRCCLS says, is $96 per hour; an aggressive comparison shopper may bring this down to about $67–a mere $1.12 per minute.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Carl Kock.